4 Networking Meeting Don’ts

Networking can frighten people into doing things that they would not normally do.  Is this you?

Shoes!

Don’t:

Stand with your back to the wall, your arms crossed and your eyes on your shoes.  This is the stance of the wallflower and is not at all inviting to your potential networking partners.  Step away from the wall, plaster a smile on your face (or think of something amusing so that you can smile and not frighten the horses).  Look around for someone standing alone (perhaps with their back to the wall, arms crossed and looking at their shoes) and go greet them and ask what they think of the meeting so far.

Put your name tag anywhere but on your right lapel.  If you hide your name tag by putting on your purse or your shoe or down by your waist, you are making it that much harder for the person you are meeting to remember your name.  Humans learn in many different ways and one is by reading as well as hearing.  If you put your name tag on your left lapel but shake with your right hand, the name tag will be angled away from the person you are meeting.

Forget your business cards. Another way for people to remember you is by having a business card from you.  If you are designing your cards, leave the back blank or at least not shiny – it is a great place for the person to whom you are giving it to take a note or two about the conversation. And you should write a note on the back of theirs – what did you talk about?  What can you send them (a resource or link to something interesting)?   When should you contact them?  Where did you meet them (obvious at the time, but not so much when you find the card on your desk)?

Forget to follow up with the people you collected cards from.  The whole point of the networking exercise and business cards is to follow up with the people afterwards.  And, since networking is about giving and getting, be sure to give something that the other person will find useful or funny or interesting or professional or (whatever you want to be known for).

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